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Issue 16: The End is Nigh... Digital Apocalypse Now
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Issue 16: The End is Nigh... Digital Apocalypse Now

As the end of October and Halloween approaches, this issue of The Slow Scroll is dedicated to all the spooky, creepy, and uncomfortably bizarre directions technology is going in. From human-like skin textures to bot replicas of ourselves, read on to learn more about the weirder sides of modern day technology.

Human-Like Skin For Your Phone

Some people touch their phones far more than other humans—and now, your phone could have a creepy skin-like texture, thanks to Marc Teyssier from Telecom Paris.

His project Skin On is a follow up to his robot-finger enhanced smartphone, and 
now Marc and his colleagues have invented an artificial skin for interactive devices that responds to touch. The reason? "I wanted to touch my phone." 

The interface would enable 'new forms' of input gestures, such as stroking, rubbing, and grabbing. How that data could be used or stored later remains to be seen, but either way, it's a project that's made headlines (and has elicited some funny reactions on Reddit). 

The App That's Trying to Replicate You

What if you could take all the text messages, DMs, and emails that you ever wrote and build a replica of yourself to interact with others, after your death? This was the premise of a Black Mirror episode Be Right Back, and it's also the goal of the San Francisco based startup Luka.

It's AI app called Replika launched in March. Back in 2015, founder Eugenia Kuyda's good friend Roman Mazurenko died in a hit-an-run in Moscow, and to deal with the grieving process, she took all of their chat data to build "a digital version of Mazurenko." 

Now, over 100,000 users are building digital versions of themselves, by chatting with their own Replika daily. For now, the usage is perhaps more therapeutic than anything, and helps people with anxiety. After all, a 'machine won't judge you the way a human would." 

 £100,000 To License The Rights to Your Face

The robots are coming (at least, this is what hopeful Presidential candidate Andrew Yang says). One company, Geomiq, has made a public appeal to find the right face—one that is 'kind and friendly'—and is willing to pay a fee of £100,000 to license the rights of said face.

The privately funded company plans on launching a robot that will serve as a virtual friend for elderly people, and is set to go into production next year. 

If the idea of having your face on a robot freaks you out, facial recognition probably doesn't sit well with you either. Soon, hiding your features won't save you from being identified—your heartbeat or even the way you walk could reveal your identity.


Thank you for reading this week's issue of The Slow Scroll! Got a creepy tech story to share? Reach out to us and email us your thoughts. We'd love to hear 'em.
Send this to a friend who needs to slow down. Then grab a cup of coffee with them.

Why ‘The Slow Scroll’?


Social Isolation is Killing Us. Tech companies are failing us. And we’re all hopelessly addicted to our screens.

Living IRL has never been more important.

That’s why we created The Slow Scroll, a weekly newsletter by IRL Labs, sent directly to your inbox (oh the irony). The Slow Scroll curates the latest and most inspiring content and resources, empowering readers to untether and live slowly.

Brought to you by...

Ivan Cash, Editor-in-Chief
Cyrena Lee, Editor and Lead Writer
Erin Ellis, Illustrator

Emily Lin, Producer


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